A whole country ham will be tough and moldy and usually weigh in at about 18 pounds.
- 1 whole country ham
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Cut off 4–6 inches of the hock and use it to flavor greens or black-eyed peas. Next, cut about 8 1⁄4"-thick slices for Fried Ham and Redeye Gravy; you will need a hacksaw to cut through the bone (or ask your butcher to do it).
Place remaining ham in a large pot, add vinegar and enough cold water to cover, and soak overnight.
Drain and rinse ham, then scrub with a stiff brush, and rinse again. Return ham to pot, add apple juice, sugar, and water to cover. Simmer over low heat for 3 1⁄2 to 6 1⁄2 hours (15–20 minutes per pound). Remove pot from heat. Let ham rest in cooking liquid until cool enough to handle but still warm.
Trim rind and most, but not all, external fat. Mix together bread crumbs, brown sugar, and pepper in a bowl. Rub mixture over exterior of ham while it is still warm; it will harden as ham cools. Slice ham thinly when cool; serve on Hot Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits, if you like.